As I sit on a packed train, stranded at St Neots station on the hottest day of the year, it hit me that I have fewer than ten days left as the Chair of ALARM. I can’t believe both the speed at which the last fourteen months have passed, and how much I have learned from colleagues, sponsors and fellow members during my term of office. As you may be aware, ending my tenure in August was not the original plan - my intention was to serve as the Chair until the end of December 2019 however a change in professional circumstances and a new working challenge means I will be stepping aside on Monday 5 August with Wayne taking the reins to lead the organisation until the next AGM. I will, however, remain on the Board until June 2020 and remain committed to the delivery of high quality, relevant services to our members.
On that note, myself, Wayne, Mandy and team ALARM met this morning to consider Conference 2019, and to start making plans for 2020. The content and quality of our flagship event hit a new high this year, and I would like to offer a huge thanks to everyone involved in delivering such a fantastic event. What struck me more than anything was the overall atmosphere at both The Principal and the University of Manchester - there was a real buzz about Conference this year as members came together to network, share best practice and pick up ideas and initiatives to take back to the office. It was also great to see so many new faces amongst delegates - I do hope you enjoyed your first Conference experience and that it has whet your appetite to come along in future years. If you have never been to Conference before, please consider joining us next year - we have agreed a fantastic theme in principle (watch this space) which lends itself to a multitude of debates and training sessions.
The Board continues to work hard to drive our agenda and deliver on Business Plan priorities. One of the main risks we have identified centres on succession planning, and how we can encourage new members to join the Board and lead the organisation - we will explore this in more detail in September as part of our annual planning session. Serving as a Board Director, and ultimately as Chair of the Board, has been fantastic for my professional development, and I’d like to think that my fellow Directors (and work colleagues) have benefitted from this over the last few years. If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Board Director, or want to be part of one of our regional or sector groups please get in touch.
And with that, the train has started to move again - lets hope I get home before the weekend, and that the air conditioning continues to work for the rest of the journey!
Chris Walker, Outgoing Chair of ALARM and Board Director.